Topics: Community sports infrastructure funding announcement with Adelaide Crows football club; AFLW; Clive Palmer; container deposit scheme. 

Simon Birmingham: Thanks very much for coming along today. I’m thrilled to be here at the Adelaide Oval just ahead of the AFLW Grand Final between the Adelaide Crows and Carlton Blues. Its an incredible atmosphere that’s building up here and it’s wonderful to be here with the chief executive of the Adelaide Football Club Andrew Fagan, my colleague and friend the Federal Minister for Sport Senator Bridget Bridget McKenzie, my other colleague Senator Anne Ruston, as well as some of our local candidates here in South Australia. We have the candidate for Adelaide Sean Osbourne, the candidate for Hindmarsh Jake Hall-Evans, the candidate Sturt James Stevens, and we’re here today to celebrate a major new investment in South Australian sport. Today the Liberal-National Government out of Canberra is announcing a commitment of $15 million dollars towards a new headquarters and base for the Adelaide Football Club. But importantly that’s going to be a community facility that will provide ideally, new swimming, recreational facilities, for people in North Adelaide and all of the suburbs of metropolitan Adelaide. It’s also going to deliver equal support in terms of facilities and opportunities for women’s development in AFL. And this is critical that of course all of the clubs built their facilities in an era when the AFLW didn’t exist and what we’re doing here is providing the opportunity for equal training, equal resourcing, equal opportunity for women in footy as well. This program and this investment that the Adelaide Crows are developing also includes the Eddie Betts Academy that’s going to provide real support for Indigenous leadership. So we see three real areas of community benefit out of this investment. It’s going to give better sporting facilities for people across Adelaide, better access for women’s sport and Indigenous leadership, all of that really justify the $15 million dollars that we’re putting on the table. But as well we’re committing $6 million dollars through the SANFL for an upgrade of Thebarton Oval and that’s going to provide world class facilities for amateur footy in SA. Similarly, an opportunity for development of women’s sport at Thebby as well as great additional assets for those around the Thebarton region in terms of sporting and recreational facilities. Overall this comes on top of a range of other investments we’re making into sport, community assets, and all of that is possible because we have a strong economy, we have a strong budget position coming into surplus and we’re able to make targeted investments to help boost sport, recreational, and activities right across the city of Adelaide and right around Australia. Bridget it’s great to have you in Adelaide today, welcome, thanks so much for being here for the AFLW grand final and this of course comes on top of many sporting investments that you’ve been announcing lately.


Bridget McKenzie: Yeah thanks Birmo and it’s fabulous to be at a Grand Final and just see the crowd getting out and supporting these two fabulous AFLW clubs that we’re going to see on display. I’m a great believer that you can’t be what you can’t see. So, this morning I was out at Brighton Oval seeing the Brighton AFLW club, the under 13’s actually running around for their first game of AFL as young girls. So excited to be heading here this afternoon to watch their icons, their heroes, playing AFLW. And our Government absolutely wants to see more Australians more active more often, because we know it’s good for your physical health, we know it’s great for your mental health and we know that sport and physical activity keeps communities and families together. And it’s why we’re investing in these types of projects that bring elite athletes and their performances to inspire and motivate us all, together with community participation.


Yesterday I was in Sydney with the Prime Minister announcing $190 million dollars for investment into community sporting infrastructure, specifically around female change rooms. I think as I travel as Sports Minister around the country, doesn’t matter which code I’m at, there is a tsunami of interest in our four football codes, from young women and girls on the back of our elite female athletes and it’s great to see. But it puts our clubs in local communities under pressure which is why our government thanks to our strong economic position, is able to invest significantly back into clubs – that’s less sausages that will have to be sold at Bunnings and more time scoring the games, coaching the games, and celebrating young women and young men getting more active for life.


Simon Birmingham: Thanks Bridget, and Andrew Fagan, Chief Executive the Crows obviously to talk a little bit about exactly what this will deliver.


Andrew Fagan: Thanks for being here today. We welcome and thank the Federal Government for their support and investment into a new headquarters for the Adelaide Football Club. It’s a critical first step in our planning process and gives us the clarity and certainty that we need to support the master plan that will now be developed over the next several months. As has been said, this isn’t just about elite facilities, it is an investment into the community, not just aquatic services but importantly for the development of fit for purpose female football facilities. As we see thousands of people stream in to watch our girls play today, hopefully to bring home a flag. We’ve all witnessed that the transformation that’s taking place not just here in South Australia but right across the country, and it’s important that we continue to capitalise on that and it’s not just about facilities for our elite female team, it’s about providing opportunities and a pathway for females who want to participate in our great sport as administrators or as coaches so we can support them being the best that they can possibly be in reaching the highest levels in those professions. And we want to continue to build upon our current investment in delivering important Indigenous programs and we will have it as part of his master plan specific, dedicated, Indigenous facilities to deliver enhanced programs targeting youth with pillars around education, employment, and health and wellbeing. So we’re very excited, this is a critical first step and we look forward to our developing a master plan over next several months.


Simon Birmingham: Questions?


Journalist: In terms of timeline, when are we looking to see potentially the master plan finalised and get work off the ground?


Andrew Fagan: So we we hope that, well we will be working on the master plan over the next six months through 2019. It’s been great to get support of the City of Adelaide as part of that, to develop the master plan, we’ll be engaging with them deeply. Obviously we understand the sensitivities around the Adelaide Aquatic Centre site in particular, but we really believe it is a win-win here. Delivering new fit for purpose facilities for those that are currently using and those that can use in the future. New facilities to deliver aquatic services, recreation and learn to swim as well. The Council has been great in acknowledging that we will work really close with them in all the other stakeholders as part of our planning process.


Journalist: So could you go into a little bit more detail about those facilities. You mentioned a pool, a running track, what sort of simple things can we expect?


Andrew Fagan: We expect the total build here to be in excess of $60 million dollars and there will be a needs analysis that I believe the City of Adelaide are actually going to conduct, initially looking at the. type of aquatic centre facilities that should be delivered to take care of the next 20 or 30 or 40 years. So we’ll work closely with them on that process and in addition to that we’re exploring things like indoor courts and the like that will also deliver other community benefits, well aside from what we do as a football club.


Journalist: Hows it going to compare to the West Lakes facility and how much difference will that make here?


Andrew Fagan: Look the concepts at the moment are incomparable to what’s at Westlakes, its a facility developed a decade ago, but importantly as Simon said it was for one men’s team effectively. We now have two men’s teams, a female team, we run clinics for 15,000 to 20,000 young girls each year. The nature of the activity of a football club has changed dramatically and we’re delivering community programs for 80,000 young kids each year and moving from West Lakes into the city will enable those numbers to continue to grow at a significant rate. So the facility facility will be very different and importantly this will be a sports and community centre, it’s not just a facility for the Adelaide Football Club as our current base is at West Lakes, this will delivering far more.


Journalist: Where is the rest of that $60 million going to come from?


Andrew Fagan: It’s an important question so this is a critical first step. We will be delivering some of that ourselves through our own fundraising exercises. The AFL are always great supporters of these types of development, we have value in our existing 30-year lease out at West Lakes. So, there’s a range of funding partners that we expect to come on board and that’s going to be an important part of the process over the next several months.


Journalist: Are you saying this is a certainty yet or it just looks really good?


Andrew Fagan: We’re extremely confident that certainly we will be out of generate the funding necessary to support the development and in doing that it’s delivering for all of the stakeholders. So we’re looking to get a win-win for the community here and obviously for the football club and those that will use centre. From a planning process, look we know this is the first stage that starts with the master plan, so I’ve been encouraged by the discussions I’ve had in recent weeks with the City of Adelaide who are acknowledging the challenges that exist at the Adelaide Aquatics Centre site, they acknowledge it is an aging facility and I think we can provide a compelling case to build a centre there that can continue to deliver what’s there but in a better way and also add to the economic and social and cultural development benefit here in the city.


Journalist: What are some of the challenges at the Aquatic Centre?


Andrew Fagan: I think it’s just that it’s an ageing site, it’s got some facilities that are under-utilised. It requires significant, additional investment to continue in its current form. So they are all things the City of Adelaide have made quite public, so I guess that’s the reason it’s important we conduct a needs analysis to actually see exactly what they think is required to deliver against the community need over the next several months.


Journalist: Minister just (indistinct) from the announcement, what’s your opinion on Clive Palmer potentially announcing a nuclear reactor in the state?


Simon Birmingham: Well look what Clive Palmer announces is Clive Palmer’s business. Clive has a lot of money, he’s spending a lot on advertising and I’d probably take such a proposal more seriously if he was suggesting he was going to put his own money on the line to develop such a proposal.


Journalist: Could I also just ask you as well Minister – Bill Shorten announced a policy for a nationwide ban on single use plastic bags by 2021, introducing a national container deposit scheme. What are your thoughts on environmental policy like that and a nationwide policy?


Simon Birmingham: Well South Australia has long led in terms of the delivery of container deposit legislation here. In terms as well of the phasing out of plastic bags. But these have always been matters that have been in the domain and the power in the province of states and territories and we’ve seen many states and territories now start to follow South Australia’s lead. I’d encourage others to think about doing so but it really is a case of respecting the fact that state governments have a role, and it’s important to let them actually keep their role in place, and not to usurp that role as Mr Shorten seems to be planning to do. Thanks guys, if that’s everything I’ll just finish by saying, go the Crows.